Sunday, February 13, 2011

3D vs. 2D

The FDA, has joined its cohorts in a few other parts of the world - Asia, Europe, South America (a small portion)- and approved 3D mammograms. Well, sometimes the FDA has a bit of a reputation as being slow. But in reading the fine print, in return for double the radiation that you receive in a 2D mammogram, you can increase the chance of finding a malignant tumor by 7%. I had to read both brief articles to find out all this.

Double vs. 7%, 3D vs. 2D. This is sort of like the dilemma between a CT scan and an Xray. A CT is basically a 3D xray where they scan you in slices and can put it all together essentially in a flip book and see your insides. But that gives a lot more radiation.

Here's a quote: An abdominal CT gives 20 times the radiation of a mammogram which gives 20 times the radiation of a mammogram. Doing that math an abdominal CT gives 400 times the radiation of a mammogram. There have been cases of cancer caused by the radiation from CT scans.

But I digress. The point is that the FDA was a little slow. But perhaps rightly slow here. Is double the radiation worth it for a 7% increase? Well, at this point, I would ask for one. Maybe not for the average woman. They say they are helpful for women with dense breasts but maybe I think what about high risk women.

If you are high risk and they think they might possibly see something, they send you back for a second set of exams. Twice the radiation. Maybe 3D is better. I'll ask about them at my next mammogram...

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